The youngest and oldest Test captains in numbers

In the fourth part of the analysis, we take a look at the youngest, oldest captains and the best all-rounders in Test cricket while leading a side.

Afghanistan skipper Rashid Khan was 20 years, 350 days old when he led his side against Bangladesh in 2019.   -  FILE PHOTO/K. MURALI KUMAR

The captain of a cricket team, at times also referred to as the skipper, is the appointed leader, having several additional roles and responsibilities over and above those of the 10 others in the playing XI. In cricket, the main role of the captain is to act as a sort of intermediary between the coaching staff and the rest of the team. He becomes part player, part selector or even part coach/mentor, and must be able to successfully balance the various pressures that come with the multiple responsibilities.

As in any other sport, the captain is usually the person who is the most experienced in the squad. However, there have been several instances in Test cricket where the captain has been the least experienced member of the squad.

The captain also needs to have good communication skills and is most likely to be a certainty in the playing XI, as he is responsible for the team selection. It is his task to go out for the toss before the start of a match and then take a call as to whether his side bats or fields first. During the match, the captain decides the team’s batting order, which bowler will open the bowling, who are his first and second bowling changes, and where each fielder will be positioned. While the captain has the final say, decisions taken on the field or in the dressing rooms are often collaborative. A captain’s knowledge of the complexities of cricket strategy and tactics, and shrewdness in the field may contribute significantly to the team’s success. Excelling as a cricket captain requires the incumbent to have a thorough understanding of how the game is played, the ability to strategise, and at the same time lead his teammates both on and off the field.

Nowadays, with the coaching and support staff as part of the squad, the captain’s decision-making responsibilities are less of a burden. This allows him to fully concentrate on his skills, which are either batting or bowling and at times both. However, despite all that, the captain of a cricket team typically shoulders more responsibility for results than team captains in other sports.

In the fourth and final part of this statistical analysis on Test captains, we take a look at the youngest and oldest captains and also who are the best all-rounders in Test cricket while leading a side.

Youngest Test captains

AgeCaptainCountryOpponentVenueDateResult
20 years, 350 daysRashid KhanAfghanistanBangladeshChittagong (DS)September 5, 2019Won
20 years, 358 daysTatenda TaibuZimbabweSri LankaHarareMay 6, 2004Lost
21 years, 77 daysMansoor Ali Khan PataudiIndiaWest IndiesBridgetownMarch 23, 1962Lost
22 years, 82 daysGraeme SmithSouth AfricaBangladeshChittagong (MAA)April 24, 2003Won
22 years, 115 daysShakkib Al HasanBangaldeshWest IndiesGrenadaJuly 17, 2009Won

 

Oldest Test captains – first Test as captain

AgeCaptainCountryOpponentVenueDateResult
43 years, 216 daysWarren BardsleyAustraliaEnglandLeedsJuly 10, 1926Drawn
42 years, 242 daysNelson BetancourtWest IndiesEnglandPort of SpainFebruary 1, 1930Lost
42 years, 43 daysSyd GregoryAustraliaSouth AfricaManchesterMay 27, 1912Won
41 years, 209 daysWarwick ArmstrongAustraliaEnglandSydneyDecember 17, 1920Won
41 years, 98 daysVic RichardsonAustraliaSouth AfricaDurbanDecember 14, 1935Won

 

Oldest Test captains – last day as captain

AgeCaptainCountryOpponentVenueDateResult
50 years, 320 daysW. G. GraceEnglandAustraliaNottinghamJune 3, 1899Drawn
45 years, 245 daysGubby AllenEnglandWest IndiesKingstonApril 1, 1948Lost
43 years, 279 daysWalter HammondEnglandNew ZealandChristchurchMarch 25, 1947Drawn
43 years, 233 daysWarren BardsleyAustraliaEnglandManchesterJuly 27, 1926Drawn
42 years, 351 daysMisbah-ul-HaqPakistanWest IndiesPoseauMay 14, 2017Won

 

Youngest to score a Test century as captain

AgeCaptainScoreCountryOpponentVenueDateResult
21 years, 248 daysTatenda Taibu153ZimbabweBangaldeshDhakaJanuary 17, 2005Drawn
22 years, 173 daysGraeme Smith277South AfricaEnglandBirminghamJuly 24, 2003Drawn
22 years, 273 daysJaved Miandad106*PakistanAustraliaFaisalabadMarch 11, 1980Drawn
22 years, 332 daysShakib Al Hasan100BangladeshNew ZealandHamiltonFebruary 19, 2010Lost
22 years, 263 daysMohammad Ashraful129*BangladeshSri LankaColombo (PSS)July 5, 2007Lost

Note: Graeme Smith had four Test centuries as captain before the age of 23.

Zimbabwe batsman Tatenda Taibu was the youngest Test skipper to score a century.   -  FILE PHOTO/AP

 

Youngest to score a Test fifty as captain

AgeCaptainScoreCountryOpponentVenueDateResult
20 years, 351 daysRashid Khan51AfghanistanBangaldeshChittagong (DS)September 6, 2019Won

 

Youngest to score a Test double century as captain

AgeCaptainScoreCountryOpponentVenueDateResult
22 years, 175 daysGraeme Smith277South AfricaEnglandBirminghamJuly 26, 2003Drawn

 

Graeme Smith won 53 out of 109 Tests as captain of South Africa.   -  FILE PHOTO/ GETTY IMAGES

 

Youngest to score a Test triple century as captain

AgeCaptainScoreCountryOpponentVenueDateResult
28 years, 173 daysBob Simpson311AustraliaEnglandManchesterJuly 25, 1964Drawn

 

Oldest to score a Test century as captain

AgeCaptainScoreCountryOpponentVenueDateResult
42 years, 47 daysMisbah-ul-Haq114PakistanEnglandLord’sJuly 14, 2016Won
41 years, 360 daysBob Simpson100AustraliaIndiaAdelaideJanuary 29, 1978Won
41 years, 268 daysWarwick Armstrong123*AustraliaEnglandMelbourneFebruary 14, 1921Won
40 years, 208 daysDudley Nourse208South AfricaEnglandNottinghamJune 8, 1951Won
40 years, 85 daysClive Lloyd114West IndiesAustraliaBrisbaneNovember 24, 1984Won

Note: Misbah-ul-Haq had five Test centuries as captain after the age of 40, while Armstrong had three and Simpson two centuries!

Oldest to score a Test fifty as captain

AgeCaptainScoreCountryOpponentVenueDateResult
47 years, 340 daysW. G. Grace66EnglandAustraliaLord’sJune 22, 1896Won

 

Oldest to score a Test double century as captain

AgeCaptainScoreCountryOpponentVenueDateResult
40 years, 208 daysDudley Nourse208South AfricaEnglandNottinghamJune 8, 1951Won

 

Oldest to score a Test triple century as captain

AgeCaptainScoreCountryOpponentVenueDateResult
37 years, 4 daysGraham Gooch333EnglandIndiaLord’sJuly 27, 1990Won

 

Oldest to score maiden Test century as captain

AgeCaptainScoreCountryOpponentVenueDateResult
41 years, 213 daysWarwick Armstrong158AustraliaEnglandSydneyDecember 21, 1920Won
39 years, 143 daysJack Ryder112AustraliaEnglandMelbourneDecember 29, 1928Lost
38 years, 53 daysDudley Nourse112South AfricaEnglandCape TownJanuary 4, 1949Drawn
37 years, 86 daysZaheer Abbas168*PakistanIndiaLahoreOctober 18, 1984Drawn
37 years, 77 daysRohan Kanhai105West IndiesAustraliaBridgetownMarch 13, 1973Drawn

 

Youngest to claim a Test five-wicket haul as captain

AgeCaptainBowling figuresCountryOpponentVenueDateResult
20 years, 352 daysRashid Khan5/55AfghanistanBangaldeshChittagong (DS)September 7, 2019Won
22 years, 118 daysShakib Al Hasan5/70BangladeshWest IndiesGrenadaJuly 20, 2009Won
24 years, 19 daysWaqar Younis7/91PakistanZimbabweKarachi (Defence)December 1, 1993Won
24 years, 256 daysKapil Dev5/68IndiaPakistanBangaloreSeptember 19, 1983Drawn
24 years, 363 daysJason Holder5/30West IndiesPakistanSharjahNovember 2, 2016Won

Note: Kapil Dev and Shakib Al Hasan took three five-wicket hauls before the age of 25 years, while Waqar Younis and Rashid Khan did it twice!

Oldest to claim a Test five-wicket haul as captain

AgeCaptainBowling figuresCountryOpponentVenueDateResult
40 years, 72 daysFreddie Brown5/49EnglandAustraliaMelbourneFebruary 26, 1951Won
39 years, 76 daysRay Illingworth5/70EnglandIndiaThe OvalAugust 23, 1971Lost
38 years, 357 daysRangana Herath6/59Sri LankaBangaldeshGalleMarch 11, 2017Won
37 years, 309 daysVinoo Mankad5/64IndiaPakistanPeshawarFebruary 15, 1955Drawn
37 years, 141 daysIan Johnson7/44AustraliaWest IndiesGeorgetownApril 28, 1955Won

Note: Rangana Herath took three five-wicket hauls after the age of 37 years, while India’s Anil Kumble did it twice!

Youngest to claim a Test 10-wicket match haul as captain

AgeCaptainMatch haulCountryOpponentVenueDateResult
20 years, 354 daysRashid Khan11/104AfghanistanBangaldeshChittagong (DS)September 9, 2019Won
24 years, 20 daysWaqar Younis13/135PakistanZimbabweKarachi (Defence)December 5, 1993Won
24 years, 314 daysKapil Dev10/135IndiaWest IndiesAhmedabadNovember 16, 1983Lost

 

Oldest to claim a Test 10-wicket match haul as captain

AgeCaptainMatch haulCountryOpponentVenueDateResult
38 years, 235 daysRangana Herath13/152Sri LankaZimbabweHarareNovember 9, 2016Won
35 years, 184 daysImran Khan11/121PakistanWest IndiesGeorgetownApril 6, 1988Won
33 years, 335 daysGubby Allen10/78EnglandIndiaLord’sJune 30, 1936Won

 

Best all-round performances in a Test match as captain

A century and a 10-wicket haul by a captain in a Test match

RunsBowling haulCaptainCountryOpponentVenueDateResult
11711/180Imran KhanPakistanIndiaFaisalabadJanuary 8, 1983Won

Note: Imran Khan claimed two five-wicket hauls in the above match!

A fifty and a 10-wicket haul by a captain in a Test match

RunsBowling haulCaptainCountryOpponentVenueDateResult
7511/96Allan BorderAustraliaWest IndiesSydneyJanuary 30, 1989Won
5111/104Rashid KhanAfghanistanBangaldeshChittagong (DS)September 9, 2019Won

Note: Rashid Khan was making his captaincy debut

A century and a five-wicket haul by a captain in a Test match

RunsBowling figuresCaptainCountryOpponentVenueDateResult
2195/108Dennis AtkinsonWest IndiesAustraliaBridgetownMay 20, 1955Drawn
1745/41Garry SobersWest IndiesEnglandLeedsAugust 8, 1966Won
1215/28Mushtaq MohammadPakistanWest IndiesPort of SpainApril 6, 1977Won
1176/98Imran KhanPakistanIndiaFaisalabadJanuary 8, 1983Won

Notes: Mushtaq Mohammad hit another fifty (56) in the second innings at Port of Spain. Imran Khan claimed another five-wicket haul (5/82) in the second innings at Faisalabad.

Best career all-round performance by a Test captain (1,000 runs and 100 wickets)

PlayersCountryTestsRunsBatting average100s/50sWicketsBowling averageFive-/ten-wicket hauls
Garry SobersWest Indies393,52858.8011/1511734.003/0
Imran KhanPakistan482,40852.355/1418720.2712/4
Daniel VettoriNew Zealand321,91739.124/911633.396/0
Kapil DevIndia341,36431.723/811126.354/0

Note: South Africa’s Shaun Pollock scored 998 runs and took 103 wickets in 26 matches as captain. Among the current Test captains, the West Indies’ Jason Holder has 1,518 runs and 90 wickets in 32 matches as captain.

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